Thursday, February 25, 2021

The pandemic has exacerbated demographic problems in Japan


The number of marriages in Japan fell sharply in the context of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the Ministry of Health announced. This adds to the low birth rate in this rich country and to the problems associated with an aging population, Reuters reported.

Last year, 537,583 marriages took place in Japan, down 12.7 percent from the previous year. This is the largest percentage reduction since 1950, when the decline was 15.1 percent and the post-World War II marriage boom began to subside.

In contrast to some Western countries, in Japan only a few out of every 100 babies are born in a single marriage, suggesting a stronger relationship between marriage and the number of newborns.

Some couples are postponing their weddings to wait for large gatherings to be allowed again, while others affected by the economic pandemic difficulties have probably given up on marriage forever, said Takumi Fujinami of Japan’s Research institute.

There is a high probability that the decline in marriages in 2020 will also reduce the number of newborns for a certain period from this year onwards, Fujinami said.

The annual number of newborns in Japan fell by almost half in the 1940s until 2019, prompting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call the phenomenon a “national crisis.” The decline in the birth rate and longevity of the elderly has made the country the most compelling in the world, with 35.9 million people – 28 percent of the population – over the age of 65.

In recent weeks, the incidence of KOVID-19 has been declining on a daily basis, following a peak in early January. But Tokyo and nine other prefectures are still in a state of emergency.

Japan has reported about 426,000 cases of infection and 7,549 deaths, according to NHK public television.



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